The younger brother at basketball

The younger brother at basketball January 24, 2014

This winter, we have dipped our toe into organized sports.  It is basketball season, and the recreation center at our neighborhood school hosts youth basketball every Tuesday night.  My five and six year olds are both old enough to participate this year, so we decided to give it a try.   Basketball lasts just forty-five minutes and ostensibly includes a brief practice/instructional time followed by a scrimmage against the (only) other team.  It is generous to call this an organized sport, which is precisely why it is perfect for us right now.

My trouble is that, of our children, my two-year old is currently the most inclined towards sports.  Show the kid a ball and he wants to kick it, throw it, hit it with a bat, or tuck it under his arm and run headlong into the couch.

So, it was no surprise that on our first night of basketball, my little man piled into the minivan with a ball in his arms.  When we arrived early to registration for the older two, the two year old introduced himself to the coach, rummaged through the stack of t-shirts for one that was his size, and ran onto the court with his ball under his arm, ready to practice his skills.  When the coach called the participants to sit in a circle, my little man plopped right down too next to his siblings.  He proceeded to howl as I carried him out of the circle over to the spectator bleachers.  I could barely contain him on the bench during the forty-five minute practice (the baby was completely ignored).  I achieved only mild success by encouraging him to “watch and listen to coach” so he would “learn the basketball rules.”  He skeptically passed his ball to me once or twice before realizing it wasn’t getting him any closer to playing on the court.

Another Tuesday will be here before I know it, and I’ll be honest, I don’t know what to do for my little man.  I want the basketball experience, however disorganized and laid-back, to be special for my older son and daughter.  But, I don’t want to disappoint their younger brother so much.  It is hard to see the sporting sparkle in his eyes turn to disappointment when he realizes he can’t play with the older kids.  I was the oldest in my family, so I never experienced the feeling of being the younger sibling unable to play, and my heart breaks to see my son’s sadness.  Surely, there is a way to ease his frustration and disappointment.  For now, I’ll try the following:

  ~Pull out a extra t-shirt for him to wear as his “basketball shirt” when the older kids get dressed.
 ~Drive our crew to the gym early so that little brother can run around for a bit before the practice really starts.
~Try to set better expectations by talking during the day about “sitting and listening to coach on the bleachers so that we can learn the game and play on the team next year.”
Mother Mary, help me with your prayers.  Friends, I’ll take all the suggestions I can get!

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  • Kat0427

    Queen B, this sounds soooooo familiar! I find indoor sports to be really tough with younger siblings – basketball and swimming lessons – and outdoor sports to be much easier. At least when you’re on the soccer field or at baseball, the siblings can run around together! Keep us posted on what works for you…

  • Kathy

    Babysitter for the little guy if he won’t sit during practice? If possible a special athletic outing for him – park, kiddie gym?

  • Queen B

    Thanks, Kat and Kathy! I am grateful for your suggestions and encouragement.

  • Bethany

    You tell my godson that he’ll be on that court, scoring baskets, in no time. Could he bring a basketball to sit on as a special seat? Have him practice little dribbles or rolling the ball through his legs? Is there another court open nearby to let him run around? Could he help you keep score by counting baskets made by the team? You could start him early as a statistician– counting rebounds, assists, steals, etc. 😉 Mostly kidding, but you know we dream big for him! Xox 🙂